Work could start on station soon with funding boost
THE next stage of efforts to develop a train station in Skelmersdale could be sped up using funding provided through Transport for the North.
Lancashire County Council included a request for funding for detailed design work for the rail link and station among a number of projects which could be delivered quickly under a TfN request for Government funding. The design work is essential for progressing the bid beyond its current phase of development and to speed up the plans.
The proposals put forward include those which could help the economy following the Covid-19 pandemic and also include developing a case for a station at Midge Hall near Leyland
Currently, Skelmersdale is the second largest town in the North West without a railway station, while the nearest, at Up Holland, is not easily accessible without a car and only has hourly services to Kirkby and Wigan.
This limits access to both Liverpool and Manchester, as bus travel times are slow and journeys indirect. Earlier this year, Lancashire County Council approved plans to buy the former Skelmersdale College site for £1 and committed £2m to demolish the buildings ready for the station.
County Councillor Michael Green, Lancashire County Council cabinet member for economic development, environment and planning, said: “We know the Government is keen to invest in transport infrastructure, particularly where there is evidence that projects can be delivered quickly and that every pound spent will have a good return and give confidence to businesses.
“We’ve put forward a number of schemes as part of the Transport for the North Economic Recovery Plan which are at an advanced stage, and where an injection of cash now could lead to work on the ground being able to start quickly.
“These road, rail and sustainable transport improvements are needed to update our infrastructure and ensure Lancashire can meet the needs of residents and businesses as our economy recovers from the pandemic and grows.
“Some proposals such as the improvements to support active travel in Preston, and full dualling of the A582, could be quickly progressed to the point where work could start.
“There are also others, such as the development of a railway station for Midge Hall, which would directly support jobs in the construction of houses and could potentially be delivered in the near future with funding to develop them now.
“There are also a number of bigger schemes within Lancashire where we already have a business case in development to support them, but investment at this stage could really accelerater delivery. These schemes, such as the Skelmersdale Rail Link, have the potential to transform opportunities for our communities and boost Lancashire’s contribution to the UK economy.”
The former Skelmersdale College
County Councillor Michael Green